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Susan Granger's review of 'Into the Storm'

Published 5:17 pm, Friday, August 8, 2014
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Far too timely in the season of tornados, this action-packed, natural disaster thriller features professional storm-chasers, thrill-seeking amateurs and some teenagers caught in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Set in the Midwest region known as Tornado Alley, it begins on graduation morning at Silverton High School. As vice principal, Gary Fuller (Richard Armitage) is in charge of making sure everything runs on time -- without a hitch. Problem is: the weather report worries him. A widower/single father, he's shepherding two sons, Donnie (Max Deacon) and Trey (Nathan Kress), through their difficult teenage years.

Although it's Donnie's responsibility to film the ceremony, he sneaks off to hang out with Kaitlyn (Alycia Debnam-Carey), helping her with a video project concerning environmental awareness, leaving his younger brother in charge of the camera.

Suddenly, a tremendous storm approaches, bringing with it a professional storm-chasing team, headed by documentary filmmaker Pete Moore (Matt Walsh) with Allison Stone (Sarah Wayne Callies) as his meteorologist and three camera operators (Lee Whittaker, Arlen Escarpeta, Jeremy Sumpter). Plus, there are the adrenaline junkies, Donk (Kyle Davis) and Reevis (Jon Reep), whose crazy, daredevil antics are supposed to temporarily ease the tension with a little humor.

Populated by generic, one-dimensional characters who speak in cliches, it's written by John Swetnam and directed by Steven Quale.

What makes viewing it memorable are the intense, amazingly realistic visual effects, which depict not only the wind and rain but also the monstrous impact of several cyclones striking the same place at the same time, leaving destruction in their wake.

There's also a provocative issue revolving around how reality television has made stars of several real-life storm chasers, prompting scores of people to take irresponsible risks in order to capture the video or image that will make them rich and famous.

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "Into the Storm" is a suspenseful 6, a truly terrifying thrill

ride.